Brisbane Water National Park

Picnics and barbecues

Brisbane Water National Park has two of the most beautiful and popular picnic areas on the Central Coast.

Girrakool picnic area

Wheelchair access: medium

Assistance may be required to access this area

  • The picnic area is adjacent to the car park and is a fairly flat, grassy area
  • Toilets are accessible

Girrakool Loop Track in Brisbane Water National Park (Image: Evolving Images/DECCW)Looking for a place to picnic? Girrakool picnic area is well equipped with free barbecues, picnic tables and plenty of parking and it is conveniently located for those travelling from Sydney or Newcastle, all together making it a great place for a family gathering.

The main picnic ground next to the carpark is a large grassy area with plenty of room to kick a ball around with the kids, while a bushland picnic area at the far end of the carpark provides a more rugged bush setting for those who like to get in the thick of it.

You might be lucky enough to share the experience with a wallaby or two, and if you feel like stretching your legs, try the easy Girrakool loop walk that takes you past Aboriginal rock engravings, through forest and past waterfalls. Make sure you take your camera; there are some great photos to be taken.

Activities: walking, picnics and barbecues

Location:  shown on park map

Getting there: Girrakool picnic area is located in the northern section of Brisbane Water National Park.

To get there from the F3 Highway:

  • Exit Central Coast Highway towards Gosford
  • Take the first left onto Wisemans Ferry Road
  • Take the first left onto Old Pacific Highway
  • Take the first left onto Quarry Road
  • The picnic area is through the tunnel and straight ahead

Road access: Sealed road - 2WD vehicles.

Opening hours: The picnic area is:

  • Open 9am – 5pm (Monday – Sunday)

Facilities: picnic tables, gas/electric barbecues (free), flush toilets, drinking water, carpark, trackhead/access point

Exploring Girrakool in Brisbane Water National Park (Image: Evolving Images/DECCW)Girrakool picnic area in Brisbane Water National Park (Image: Evolving Images/DECCW)

Somersby Falls picnic area

Wheelchair access: medium
Wheelchair accessible toilets are available. Picnic tables are located along stone pathways or relatively flat grassy areas. A stone pathway leads to the edge of Floods creek, just before it descends over the first waterfall and provides views of the creek.

Somersby Falls in Brisbane Water National Park (Image: Evolving Images/DECCW)Somersby Falls picnic area is the perfect place to escape from everyday life. Enjoy your meal amidst lush rainforest that feels a million miles away but in reality is so close to home. 

It’s a great place to picnic, with free barbecues and picnic tables and plenty of space to set up your own rug and chairs. Whether you picnic under the shade of tall trees at the far end of the carpark or next to Floods creek before it descends over the cascades, you’re bound to see a bird or two. Make sure you look out for the industrious brush turkeys that might be keen on sharing your lunch.

When you’ve enjoyed a tasty barbecue and feel like stretching your legs, try the Somersby Falls walking track. It’s a 500m return walk through rainforest that takes in views of the top and bottom waterfalls. The walk is steep and slippery in places, so keep an eye on the kids as they walk along the track.

Activities: picnics and barbecues, sightseeing, day walking, photography

Getting there: Somersby Falls is located in the northern section of the park, about 5km north of the Girrakool picnic area and the F3.

From Newcastle and Sydney:

  • Exit the F3 at the Central Coast Highway towards Gosford

From Gosford:

  • Take the Central Coast Highway past Kariong
  • Turn onto Wisemans Ferry Road
  • Take the second left onto Somersby Falls Road
  • The picnic area is at the end of Somersby Falls Road

Road access: Sealed road - 2WD vehicles.

Opening hours: 9am - 8pm daylight savings time or 5pm at all other times

Not permitted here: Dogs.

At the top of Somersby Falls in Brisbane Water National Park (Image: Evolving Images/DECCW)Somersby Falls in Brisbane Water National Park (Image: J Taunton/DECCW)